Patient vital signs -- body temperature, blood pressure, heart rate and respiration rate -- tell medical personnel a great deal about a patient. If you have to administer first aid, you can take vital signs and report them to medical personnel over the phone or when they arrive on the scene. This information can be very important in helping a medic, nurse or doctor diagnose and care for the patient.

Ask if the patient ate or drank something hot or cold, smoked, chewed gum or did any strenuous activity within the last 10 minutes. If the patient has done any of these things, wait to take the temperature for 10 minutes.

2.Take the patient's temperature.
Place the thermometer under the tongue to take an oral temperature only if the patient is at least 5 years old, conscious, lucid, able to breathe through the nose, and doesn't have a facial injury that would make it difficult to hold the thermometer under the tongue.

3. Wait until the digital thermometer beeps to read the display. If you use a temperature strip, wait for the time specified in the instructions.

4. Write down the patient's temperature, where on the body it was taken, and the time. Normal temperature is somewhere around 98 degrees Fahrenheit (37 Celsius).

1. Find the patient's pulse with your fingers. Don't use your thumb when finding a pulse, because you will feel your own pulse instead of the patient's pulse.

2. Count the number of beats that occur in 15 seconds. Multiply by 4 to get the heart rate. If the pulse is irregular, count for a full minute.

3. Write down the heart rate, any irregularities and the time the pulse was taken.

Respiration Rate
1. Measure respiration without informing the patient, because knowing that you are measuring respiration may make the patient change his or her respiration rate.

2. Count the number of inhalations that occur in 15 seconds. Multiply by 4 to get the respiration rate.

3. Note whether the respiration is abnormal in any way, such as labored or raspy. Normal respiration is between 14 and 20 per minute.

4. Write down the respiration rate, whether it seems abnormal, and the time.